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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Wednesday, April 4th (All times eastern)

Charlotte Bobcats (7-44) at Atlanta Hawks (31-23), 7:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Atlanta Hawks are losing ground on possibly having homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs and will get back to work tonight versus the lowly Charlotte Bobcats.

The Hawks will also host Detroit on the quick homestand and are 17-8 as the host. They have lost three of four games and were last in action during a 95-90 loss at Philadelphia on Saturday. Josh Smith led all scorers with a season-high 34 points and Joe Johnson was the only other Hawk in double-digit scoring with 15.

"We played well in stretches but then one or another thing happens, whether we don't feel we get the calls or we miss shots," Hawks head coach Larry Drew said. "We seem to implode against (Philadelphia)."

Kirk Hinrich, Jeff Teague and Willie Green had eight points apiece in defeat.

Atlanta is seeded sixth in the Eastern Conference -- one game behind Orlando -- and can still improve its position with better play down the stretch. Smith has been the Hawks' best option to lead a resurgence and is averaging 23.3 points in his last 21 games. It wouldn't be too wise to count out Johnson either, as he is posting 22.4 ppg in his past 15 games.

Charlotte is mixing in more of its younger players down the stretch, but so far the team has lost eight in a row, including Tuesday's 92-87 defeat at Toronto in the continuation of a four-game road trip.

Byron Mullens is one of those fresh-faced guys and finished with 20 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Bobcats, who had their six-game winning streak against the Raptors cut short and fell to 3-24 away from home. Head coach Paul Silas has been pleased with Mullen's effort.

"He keeps amazing me," Bobcats head coach Paul Silas said of Mullens. "He's just getting better."

Rookie Kemba Walker had 10 points and seven assists, while D.J. Augustin chipped in 18 points in a losing cause. The Bobcats lost the opener of the trek on Saturday against Detroit in overtime. They will close out the road swing Friday at Milwaukee and are the only team in the league with single- digit victories (7-44).

Charlotte has dropped two of the first four meetings with Atlanta this season and six of the previous nine encounters. The Hawks have won eight of nine contests as the host in this series.

04/04 10:57:10 ET


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